Monday, March 25, 2019

Chartwells’ food changes stir concern within student body

ELAINA ROLLINS ’16

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

FORREST ROBINETTE ’16

MANAGING EDITOR

The past few weeks have been full of food-related changes at Trinity College after Chartwells Dining Services announced meal plan alterations and the new Kitchen Truck on Vernon Street. Along with these formal new statements from the College’s official food provider, a variety of rumors about the closure of the popular Cave and Bistro dining options have also spurred debate and concern throughout the student body.

On Thursday, April 10, the Kitchen Truck made its first appearance on campus from 11:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. on Vernon Street. The Truck accepted Bantam Bucks, Dining Dollars, and cash, making the experience somewhat reminiscent of the famous “Late-Night Bistro” dining option which was available last year.

Some of the food served at the Kitchen Truck included pulled pork sandwiches, mac and cheese, and “The King”—a sandwich made of cinnamon swirl bread with peanut butter, Nutella, and bananas on the inside.

“I could not even dream up a better food combination than the BBQ pulled pork sandwhich I had from the food truck on Vernon! We need to have these more often,” says Katie Adams ’14.

The more striking change Chartwells introduced is regarding student meal plans. Beginning next fall, all students living on campus, including seniors, will be required to be on a meal plan. In the past, seniors have not had to be on a meal plan, and students living in cooking units did not have to register for a plan either.

The only students who will not have to register for a meal plan beginning in fall 2014 will be members of Trinity’s authorized eating clubs, which include St. Anthony’s Hall, Alpha Delta Phi, and Psi Upsilon. The Crescent Street townhouses are not considered off campus housing according to Chartwells’ new meal plan policy.

For the majority of students who will thus be enrolled in a plan, they have the option to choose either the “Mather Unlimited Plan” or “15 Flex Plan.” The Mather Unlimited Plan is just what it sounds like – unlimited meals at mather, along with 100 Chartwells dollars to use at the Bistro, the Cave, or the C Store. The 15 Flex Plan offers 15 meals at any dining option on campus, as well as 300 Chartwells dollars. Seniors can enroll in a “Senior Plan,” which offers 10 meals a week and 400 Chartwells dollars.

The only students who will not have to register for a meal plan beginning in fall 2015 will be members of Trinity’s authorized eating clubs, which include St. Anthony’s Hall, Alpha Delta Phi, and Psi Upsilon. The Crescent Street townhouses are not considered off campus according to Chartwells’ new meal plan policy.

For the majority of students who will thus be enrolled in a meal plan, they have the option to choose either the “Mather Unlimited Plan” or the “15 Flex Plan.” The Mather Unlimited Plan is just what it sounds like—unlimited meals at Mather, along with 100 Chartwells dollars to use at the Bistro, the Cave, or the C Store. The 15 Flex Plan offers 15 meals at any dining option on campus, as well as 300 Chartwells dollars. Seniors can enroll in a “Senior Plan,” which offers 10 meals a week and 400 Chartwells Dollars.

On top of the Kitchen Truck and meal plan changes, there have also been rumors circulating that the Cave will be shut down and that the Bistro will be closed during the weekends because of financial reasons. Some students have speculated that these changes are the result of the widespread popularity of Goldberg’s. With Goldberg’s as an option, more students might be choosing non-Chartwells food.

If the Cave is closed and the Bistro begins running on limited hours, Mather will become the only full-service dining location on Trinity’s campus.

There have also been rumors that Chartwells will be opening a new, small dining location on Crescent street to service the student population that resides in the newly-built townhouses.

Students do not know what form this Crescent option will take, but it is assumed that it will be similar to the C-Store that opened in Vernon Social Center at the beginning of this school year.

Some students on campus have expressed major concerns with these new changes. Claudia Trafton ’16 created an online survey for Trinity students to comment on the new meal plan, which she intends to show to the Manager of Dining Services Tony Chennette.

Andrew Fishman ’16 launched a petition to “Save the Cave” shortly after hearing that the dining location would be shut down. He has argued that the planned changes would put many Chartwells employees out of work or reduce them to part-time workers with limited benefits. He has tabled outside Mather to express his concern about Chartwells’ decisions.

The email detailing the new meal policy did not explain why the new changes would be going into effect. As a result, many students have expressed a desire for an explanation regarding the recent change in dining options.

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